An on-line educational program especially for parents and carers of young people with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) 
or at risk of FASD
Raising a young person with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is challenging! Parents and carers will tell you that and the research agrees! A part of what makes it so hard is that many parents find that the parenting strategies and techniques that worked well with their other children, just don't work with their child with FASD, in fact sometimes those strategies seem to make things worse! This can leave parents and carers feeling exhausted, frustrated and unsure what to do next. 

"Explained by Brain" is an educational online program specifically designed to assist parents and carers of young people with FASD or with suspected FASD. 
It is based on the book "Explained by Brain - The FASD Workbook for Parents, Carers and Educators" and is intended to to accompany it although either resource can be used on their own.

This psycho-educational program is facilitated by Clinical Psychologist, Dr Vanessa Spiller. Vanessa has extensive experience in working with individuals with FASD, their families and carers as well as in training, education and research on FASD. She is also the parent to a young adult with FASD.

What does the online program cover?
Step 1: The "Explained by Brain" Introduction session

The orientation session is a 2 hour foundation video which provides the framework for all later sessions - that's why it should be completed first. 

It includes information about the brain-based origins of the behavioural symptoms of FASD that are vital in explaining and understanding why people with FASD behave and interact in the ways they do. 

The orientation session also covers the kinds of approaches and strategies that have been found to be helpful in working with and managing the behavioural symptoms of FASD such as Diane Malbin's  -neurobehavioral approach, Dr Bruce Perry's - neurosequential approach and Dr Ross Greene's - Proactive and Collaborative Solutions plus more. You will be introduced to the Explained by Brain framework and how this can be used to better understand and assist your child with FASD!

This first session is accompanied by a 1 hr drop-in session for participants focused on the Explained by Brain approach with Dr Spiller. It is an opportunity for participants to meet each other, discuss the Explained by Brain approach and ask questions. 

This session can be done as a stand-alone session but ideally it will accompany other selected sessions.













Step 2 - Customise your psycho-education sessions

Explained by Brain is intended to be a flexible online program where you attend an initial introductory session (on-line) and then attend the additional sessions that are most relevant to you and your family's needs. 

10 additional sessions will be offered covering a variety of topics (with more sessions to be added in the future). Each of these sessions will include a 1hr video session released approximately every two weeks with an optional one hour group drop-in session available the week following with Dr Spiller. 

Step 3: Book your place! 
Register now for the Spring program starting September 1!! Video sessions will then be released approximately fortnightly. 
Registrations close Friday August 25th. 

Please note multiple video sessions and some drop-in group discussions will be held weekly to allow the spring course to The finish by Thursday December 17th.

What is the cost of the Explained by Brain online program?

The 2 hr orientation/starter video session costs $59.99 AU (+GST) and includes a 1 hr facilitated online group discussion the following week.

Subsequent sessions can be purchased individually for a cost of $34.99 (+GST) each. They also include an optional 1 hr facilitated online group discussion available the week following the video's release week. 

If you know you are going to want to attend more sessions the bundled package might suit you better. 
​10 Session Package: This includes the orientation session + all 10 psycho-education sessions and access to the optional facilitated group discussions for $369 (+GST).

If you are a registered foster carer or have a child receiving NDIS funding, speak to your agency about funding your attendance. 
​Can I watch the video's more than once?
Of course - you can't take everything in the first time! Video's will be available to rewatch as many times as you like until the end of the course.

Can my partner watch the video sessions as well?
Other members of your immediate household are welcome to watch with you. We do ask that you don't share the video more widely than that.

My child/young person hasn't been diagnosed with FASD yet, can I still attend?
Of course! Most people with FASD in Australia haven't been diagnosed or have been misdiagnosed (this is also true around the world). If you suspect your child has FASD or is at risk of FASD you are still welcome to attend the group. In fact, all the strategies and approaches discussed can be used with children without FASD as well as those with it. If you need information about how to pursue a diagnosis we can help point you in the right direction.

My child has also experienced trauma and has a range of other diagnoses and challenges, will the program still be suitable for me?
Many of the approaches used in this group have been used with young people with a variety of issues including ADHD, ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder), ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders) and trauma.

I don't live in Australia, can I still join?
Yes of course! Drop-in discussions will occur approximately fortnightly, Thursday nights at 8pm Australian EST. Additional discussion times in different time zones may be added if required. 
What topics be covered in the sessions?
This group will aim to cover many of the issues impacting on young people with FASD. We will not shy away from the tough topics!! Psycho-education sessions will include:
  • Information about specific brain areas effected by Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and how that can present as behavioural symptoms
  • Strategies and interventions that can assist with difficulties in particular brain areas 
  • Information about particular behavioural symptoms of FASD
  • Strategies and interventions to help with specific behavioural symptoms
  • Application of the Explained by Brain approach to behavioural symptoms
  • Problem-solving frameworks for carers

Session 1
  • Adaptive Functioning - Real world functioning skills including Social Skills
  • Aggression - verbal and physical aggression
  • Meltdowns, defiance and oppositionality
  • Problem-solving behavioural symptoms

Session 2
  • Executive Functioning - Understanding cause and effect, impulsivity, organisation 
  • Brain Structure
  • Stealing 
  • Building stronger relationships with your child

Session 3
  • Cognition - including IQ and intellectual disability
  • Confabulation (Lying)
  • Picking your battles!
  • Advocating for your child

Session 4
  • Affect and emotional regulation
  • Suicide and Self-harm 
  • Working with multiple services
  • Therapy for those with FASD

Session 5
  • Attention (ADHD)
  • Sexualised behaviours
  • Communicating about FASD with others

Session 6
  • Motor Skills & Sensory issues
  • Perseveration i.e., getting stuck!
  • Behaviours versus disability??!!

Session 7
  • Memory
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Caring for Carers - self-care, seeking supports and finding your tribe!

Session 8
  • Language
  • Managing transitions
  • Grief and loss for carers

Session 9
  • Academic Performance
  • Working with schools
  • The role of medication

Session 10​
  • FASD & Trauma
  • Building on Strengths
  • Planning for the future 
  • Re-defining success for a child with FASD
Explained by Brain! The FASD workbook especially designed for Parents, Carers and Educators by a parent and clinical psychologist with over 20 years experience with FASD.

The Explained by Brain Workbook includes:
  • Real world stories with real world strategies!
  • Vital information about how brains are affected by prenatal alcohol exposure 
  • Explanations about how and why brain injury translates into frustrating but predictable behavioural symptoms
  • Parenting approaches and school-based strategies that work for young people with FASD (and those that don't)
  • Opportunities for self-reflection and applications to your child
  • Overviews of 11 brain areas affected by alcohol exposure 
  • 100+ Parenting and intervention strategies!!
  • How to better understand and manage common behavioural symptoms of FASD such as meltdowns, verbal and physical aggression, stealing, lying (confabulation), sexualised behaviours and more!
  • Learn ways of understanding and managing complex behavioural symptoms
  • Strategies for building on strengths and talents
​383 pages
With every purchase of Explained by Brain - The FASD Workbook for Parents, Carers and Educators you also receive a copy of the the Explained by Brain - Reflection and Resources Booklet. This provides you with a condensed copy of all the Explained by Brain - Self-reflection activities and resources, making it easy to print out and complete as you work your way through the workbook.
89 pages
For those who just want the basics! 
The Explained by Brain - Big Book of Strategies focuses exclusively on interventions, strategies, tip sheets and other Explained by Brain resources without all the background materials. The Explained by Brain - Big Book of Strategies includes:

* Tip sheets for each of the brain areas 
affected in FASD
* Key modification areas 
* Information and Strategies for each of the 
brain areas impacted in FASD
*Behavioural symptom strategies and 
interventions e.g. for confabulation, 
stealing, sexualised behaviours etc
*Skills and Ability summaries
*Explained by Brain resources

Please note: If you already purchased the Parent, Carer and Educator Workbook, this resource DOES NOT include additional resources!
99 pages
Please note: The Explained By Brain sessions are not intended to to replace individualised professional advice nor is it intended to be an ongoing support group.
Explained by Brain - The FASD Workbook for Parents, Carers & Educators + Explained by Brain - Reflections & Resources Booklet

Bundle Price $29.99 (+GST)
Available only in PDF Digital Download
Explained by Brain: 
Big Book of Strategies  
$12.99 (+GST)
Need additional copies of the Explained by Brain - Reflections & Resources Booklet for extra kids?

 $12.99 (+GST) 
Available only in PDF Digital Download
Available only in PDF Digital Download
Please note: Session contents may vary slightly. Changes will be advised. 
Contact Us
Be sure to save your workbook after downloading!!
Dr Vanessa Spiller is a clinical psychologist and the parent to a young adult with FASD. She blends 20 years of clinical work with lived experiences to deliver practical frameworks and strategies to help young people and their families achieve success. The "Explained by Brain" approach utilises multiple well researched frameworks to provide parents, carers and educators with the tools they need to better understand and support young people with FASD.
FASD is often mistaken for a behavioural disorder which can be managed through conventional strategies such as ‘Behaviour Management’ and ‘Time Out’. When those and other typical parenting techniques don’t work, Dr Spiller’s book, Explained by Brain will help. It gives parents of children with FASD an explanation for the often bizarre behaviours of their children and options to manage behaviour in the best way [for them].

I am the mother of two adult children with this condition. Our lives would have been much easier if Dr Spiller had written this book twenty years ago. 

Anne Elizabeth Russell - Parent and FASD advocate. Russell Family Fetal Alcohol Disorders Association.
Luckily for all of us, Dr Vanessa Spiller has now written the best guide to the management of the behavioural symptoms of FASD that I have seen so far. There are other books about FASD, mainly produced in the USA or Canada, but most of them are either very technical and academic or very much the story of one young person 
and one family.
Explained by Brain combines the science of brain injury with the stories of real people, and ranges from how the diagnosis is made, to how to deal with the symptoms that can occur, how to build a profile of your child and coordinate a diagnosis if you don’t have access to a specialised clinic, and how to care for yourself – “put your own mask on first, as they say on the plane” 
Dr Meg Perkins, Psychologist
What parents and professionals are saying about Explained by Brain.
 The FASD Workbook!
Want a training package specifically designed to meet the needs of your group?
1/2 day, full-day and multi-day training is available for parent and carers groups and for other groups of professionals (teachers, psychologists, social workers, foster care staff, corrections staff, child-care workers and more!) Contact Dr Spiller at [email protected] to discuss your needs.
Listen to Dr Spiller talk about FASD, her journey, the Explained by Brain approach with Jeff Noble on the FASD Success Show by following this link!  Episode #24
The FASD Ability Wheel is a one page resource designed to help parents and carers quickly and accurately communicate their child's functioning in 11 brain domains! It is ideal to give to teachers, teachers aides and other support workers so they can better understand your child and their abilities - their strengths and weaknesses. It also includes spaces for you to include the key strategies and accomodations that will assist your child! 

The video above explains how to complete the FASD Ability Wheel and where you can get more information about about supporting your young person with FASD! 

Follow the link below to download your free PDF copy of the FASD ability wheel!
Complete our secure online form to complete your registration and secure your place in the Spring Program!
Registrations are NOW open for the Spring "Explained by Brain" 
Education sessions!! 
Register below!!
Limited places available per course.